Re: The ordering of the trumps

#11
Right, given complete ignorance, the precise order is not self evident. Especially things like the Virtues, which occur in every possible ordering (T-J-F, F-J-T, T-F-J, etc., abstracting them from their context in the series in some cases). But they were not in complete ignorance. It is unlikely, in other words, that somebody who knew nothing of the game at one time found an unnumbered deck laying around and decided to order the cards in a certain way to play them, and thus began a tradition. If so, we might have wildly different orderings than we do. But that is not the case.

I think we have to imagine that the inventor intended a particular order and had reasons for so doing, and that order would have been known in the immediate first circle of players. I tend to believe there was a basic rulebook or at least a book explaining the sequence.

The people who transmitted the game to various places must have learned it from someone else, and with that an order. Over time, it got changed, but local traditions obviously developed, which account for the "Three Families" of orders.

One observation Dummett and others made was that the series - whatever series - falls into three classes of subjects. The first class, the human ranks or types, is easy to see. Then you have the Devil and above him the order is fixed in every series - Devil, Fire, Star, Moon, Sun. There can be no doubt this was the original and intended order of these five cards. The subject matter has been variously categorized, as celestial or eschatological.

This leaves the "middle section", which has been characterized as "moral", since it includes the virtues and Fortune, as well as rise and downfall, and finally Death.

So, to answer Robert's question about, for instance, why is a traitor above the Pope? Because he is in a different category. He is not a particular person or rank in the narrative, but a moral lesson, an exemplum. When learning the game, the first five cards must have been shown as an unbreakable unit. There was no question about this group after that. We might also deduce that since the sequence "Traitor-Death" is invariable in ALL families, that this particular part was emphasized as such in learning the order (since it is not self-evident or intuitive). Traitor-Death, Traitor-Death, Traitor-Death... whether or not any meaning was attached to the order.

For the last 7 cards, the sequence was pretty easy to grasp too. But in the middle part is where most of the shuffling goes on, although Fortune is always more or less central, and it always ends in Death.

There must have been an easy way that these basic parts were taught in the earliest period as the game passed from one locale to another, since they are broadly similar.
Image

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#12
jmd wrote:
R.A. Hendley wrote:[...] 15th century players knew the order, partially by consensus, but mainly because these images were part of popular culture.
I remain unconvinced.

There is no need to have the earliest games assume that trumps were ranked for play. It may just as easily have been that the last trump trumps, with strict rules about when trumps are allowed (as is still the case). Vestiges of this (if correct) may account for the rule that (only with trumps) one MUST trump higher than the highest trump already played (unlike all other suits).
Thanks, I wasn't aware of that rule of the game...

Vestiges perhaps also in those games with the four popes / moors, which trump each other by order of play (last played wins), not rank - but it only applies to the popes/moors I think...
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#13
Well, I could be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. But I reckon series similar to the trump sequence were common in the trionfi processions, and people would have known them, and have been attuned to the same 'wave-length' as the game designer.

I'm always looking for a chance to post the ol' Valenciennes scenery design from the popular mystery play.

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It is basically the whole top tier of the trumps. Actors would have performed the harrowing of hell and the last judgement. I don't think the placing of the celestial orbs in the interim of this theatrical cosmology would have been a stretch.

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I may be 'over-deducing", but I really don't think the trumps were particularly an original groundbreaking sequence, and most likely reflected already established and popular similar orderings from the theater and triumphal tradition.

So let's all sing it together...

"There's no business like show business, there's no business I know..."
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#14
I think the end of the sequence, as you've shown above, is probably the most obvious of the group. Before the Devil though, I'm not so sure. Even the sequence you do show is only one of the three popular sequences that were used using those cards, so maybe even they weren't so obvious either?
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#15
Yes, but I did say "...it would be hard NOT to order the trumps similarly to at least one of the known orderings", not the just the Tarot de Marseille ordering.

The other options of course would be to 1) insert Justice before Judgement, or 2) switch the World and Judgement. All of these are suggested by Valenciennes stage. One not familar with the game might have even switched the Tower and Devil around, or the order of the celestials, but the general message would be the same, the one they'd seen on stage and parade.
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#16
... and I'm not trying to hammer the point...

but I also tend to agree that the end of the sequence is the clearest, the cards before the Devil are harder to "naturally" order, IMHO.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#17
robert wrote:I think the end of the sequence, as you've shown above, is probably the most obvious of the group.
The positions of the Papi and the virtues are the places where there would have been some difficulty in matching the known orders, just as they are the main places the three orders differ. The basic meaning of the trump cycle doesn't change dramatically as long as the Papi remain together. The overall allegory only changes in 'nuance' when the virtues are moved about. Also Love and Triumph are totally interchangeable, as are Time and Fortune.
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#18
robert wrote:... and I'm not trying to hammer the point...

but I also tend to agree that the end of the sequence is the clearest, the cards before the Devil are harder to "naturally" order, IMHO.
Oh. I missed your reply before I posted that last one. I think your right though, if we're talking exact matches.

Hey, where did Dolly P. go? =((
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#19
R.A. Hendley wrote:Hey, where did Dolly P. go? =((
That was a great quote wasn't it? I was watching an interview with her the other night talking about Cat Stevens, and she was talking about his music and how it had touched her so deeply (like me!), and then when discussing the controversy over the Satanic Versus she said she had to speak out in his defence because she "knew" that man, that voice, that heart.. and that "You should not walk on the wings of angels". I thought it was a brilliant line.

Today I saw a post about someone "wrestling" with their cat and the scars from doing so, and it made me think of the Two Commandments that I always set for our animal co-habitators ... thus the change in signature.

Um.. stay on subject.. stay on subject...

...and that reminds me of how the creator of the trumps must have also had some sort of rule set to work by...

#:-s
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The ordering of the trumps

#20
Robert says:

Which Virtue comes first? Where do they go?

Here's my take, from Origins of the Tarot:

"The Sun as agent of Zeus assists in constantly rejuvenating the
cosmos. For Homer, to see the rays of the Sun was to be filled with Life.
The equation between light and life was incorporated into the Sufi
name for the Hermit’s station or attribute of Allah – the Living.
When Diogenes, Greece’s ascetic Patriarch of Cynics, walked around
naked in broad daylight with his lantern, he was testing who might
see such rays, for only they would be on the path of Virtue and
thereby deserving to be called truly alive.
Virtue as human excellence is represented by the Hermit as prudent
guide and provider of life. Prudent comes from the word provide –
pro-, “forward,” and videre, “to see.” The quality of a Hermit’s insight
into how the Wheel of Fortune and Nature cycles forward can be
intuited from important derivatives of weid-, the Indo-European
root of videre: guide, wise, wisdom, guise, Hades, wit, view, visa, vision,
advice, clairvoyance, evident, provide, review, supervise, survey, idea, history,
story.
The virtues suggested by Plato (later to be deemed cardinal or
pivotal) – Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice – are arranged
hierarchically in the Tarot. According to Plato, the first three relate
to one’s psyche: moderation or Temperance is the virtue that orders
the lower appetites and physical desires of the psyche, including
those of Lovers; courage or Fortitude is the soldiering, steadfast
virtue of the morally upright psyche that is represented so well in the
Chariot; wisdom or prudence is the yet higher virtue of the intellectual
aspect of psyche as portrayed in the Wheel’s and Hermit’s
insight of gnosis or Emptiness. These virtues culminate in a Unity of Justice,
which links Psyche with all else, for the three hierarchical classes
of virtue and psyche are not self-sufficient – they are surrounded by
the all-inclusive Law of Justice."
Dai Leon
http://www.OriginsOfTheTarot.com

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